You've been meditating for a while and you're sure annnnnnny minute your inner peace is gonna kick in.
Yet you're jittering in your seat like a squirrel on Red Bull.
I mean, c'mon, you haven't got all day! Gimme peace and give it to me now, dammit!
You take a deep breath.
Finally...FINALLY your tension melts away.
When some jerk outside jacks up his stereo, nearly catapulting you out of your chair. Fireworks explode in your brain.
And all you want to do is roar out the door and kick someone's butt.
Whoa. What the hell? You're not supposed to feel this way, right?
Your stomach knots. You're sure you're the worst meditator ever.
Then you figure meditation has got to be some stupid New Age scam. Yeah, that's it!
Screw Deepak and Oprah.
Busting a Myth About Meditation
You've been lied to.
You've been told meditation will turn you into a sweetly smiling saint; endlessly kind, patient, and positive.
But that's a crock.
You're not an android. You're built to have feelings. Meditation won't erase them. And that's good! Because without emotions your life would be as flat as a gravestone.
The Only Thing You Need to Do About Your Feelings
Accept your emotions. All of them. The whole shebang: happiness, frustration, joy, anger, delight, and fear. Welcome them until accepting them becomes second nature.
Feels scary, right? Feelings are messy. They're embarrassing. If you admit to them isn't that like flying your freak flag for everyone to see?
But here's the thing: you absolutely don't have to share them with anyone else. This isn't the confessional and you don't have to do penance.
Just don't deny them.
Hey, we've all been taught to cover up how we feel. You've been chided to always be positive and warned that you'll attract negativity if you admit to feeling negative.
What a load of sanctimonious blame-the-victim bullshit!
Pretending to feel different than you do is to deny the core of your humanity.
And denial is dangerous to your well-being.
Why Denying Your Emotions Enslaves You to Them
When you deny your emotions it's like sweeping dirt under the rug. The floor looks clean but the dirty pile continues to grow until it trips you. So, too, do your unaccepted feelings pile up and become your dark side.
And when your dark side gets dark enough it owns you as completely as The Godfather would if you defaulted on your loan.
You know that friend you have who regularly makes destructive life choices even though they know better?
Usually it's because their dark side is in the driver's seat as they spin out of control like a Maserati on black ice.
Be kinder than that to yourself.
There's no need to beat yourself up about how you feel. No more struggling to pretend something negative is positive. No more fear that you're ruining your life because you're attracting bad juju to yourself.
While you meditate, welcome your emotions into the light. Then their power over you will diminish.
Your Faith in Meditation Will Be Tested
Awhile back someone I'd welcomed into my family suddenly turned on me like a crazed wolverine.
She was in a lot of pain; lashing out; hurting people I love.
Even though I understood what was going on, one evening I felt so angry I wanted to punch her out in the bathroom at Chuck E. Cheese while we were at a two-year-old's birthday party.
Understand, I'm 58 years old, a grandma, and a long-time meditator who's spent a fair amount of time in deep meditation retreat. People often say to me something like "I look at you and I see peace". And a lot of the time I really do feel peaceful.
Yet there I stood imagining how good it would feel to bury my fist in her face. I even figured it'd be easy to clean up the blood - just hose down the tiles. It sure wasn't peace anyone looking at me would have seen right then.
I was appalled by the rage's stark power. I had a moment of, "Shit, even after all the damn meditation?"
Then the confidence developed through meditation kicked in, whispering its reassurance. "Feelings are just feelings. They come and go. Always changing. Nothing to get bent out of shape about."
In my pre-meditation days I would have been horrified with myself, burying the rage under a thick layer of fake cheerfulness. And I would have paid the predictable price of strengthening anger's dark grip on me, leaving it even more in control.
Instead, I took a deep shuddering breath and my entire being relaxed into acceptance. "Okay, yep. There's rage. Wow."
Are You Ready to Keep Meditating Despite Still Wanting yo Kick Someone's Ass?
Stop trash talking yourself just because you still get mad enough to whack someone upside the head.
You're human. You're built to have all kinds of emotions.
Use the quiet of your meditation sessions to accept your feelings just as they are. Then practice accepting them as they come up during the rest of your day.
Even if you're able to welcome them for only a moment, you've still made progress. All it takes is that one moment to start building your confidence, and you're on your way!
Embrace every single one of your emotions. Welcome them as a reminder of your essential humanity. And be ready to discover how completely juicy and rewarding life will be.
This post originally appeared on A Daring Adventure.
Lynn Hauka teaches meditation to people who want to let go of life's craziness.
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